LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. — The parents of a football player for the Westfield/Brocton High School football team, who collapsed during a game and died three days later of a brain injury, has filed a lawsuit against those school districts and several other entities.
Running back Damon Janes, 16, was tackled in a game at Portville High School on Sept. 13, 2013, before going to the bench and becoming unconscious during the third quarter of the game.
Portville Central School District is named in a suit filed in Cattaraugus County for among other things, allegations by the plaintiffs that it failed to have medical personnel on hand who were capable of dealing with serious head injuries.
It also claims Portville officials, concerned that the field might be damaged, would not permit an ambulance to drive onto the field to retrieve Janes.
The lawsuits, filed in NY State Supreme Court, contend Janes suffered one or more concussions in the first half of the game, but was expected to remain on the field.
A second lawsuit, filed in Chautauqua County, makes many of the same claims. Westfield and Brocton are named as defendants.
The school districts run a combined football program which is run by Westfield. The lawsuit asserts Brocton officials are responsible for failing to realize Westfield’s management of the program was deficient.
In the lawsuit, prepared by Jamestown attorney Dale C. Robbins, parents Dean Janes of Brocton and Penny L. Gilbert of Portland, also fault both school districts for expecting that a Wolverines team so small in size and number could compete safely against the titans of Class D in Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
Olean General Hospital, one of its doctors, Section VI, and the NY State High School Athletic Association are also named as defendants in the suits, as well as the ambulance squad and fire departments that responded to the incident; and the New York State Association of Certified Football Officials Inc.